Read Connected (Twists of Fate #1) Online

Authors: Jolyn Palliata

Tags: #Paranormal;Romance;Rock star;Rock band;novella;Twists of Fate;Souls

Connected (Twists of Fate #1) (17 page)

BOOK: Connected (Twists of Fate #1)
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So, let's get started shall we?

Once upon a time...

No, wait. That's not the proper way to start this story—too predictable, too safe, and not the
proper representation for what’s to come.

I'll tell you right now, this is not your typical fairytale with a happily-ever-after ending. It's
a true story which means there's pain, remorse, and regrets to go along with everything else.

And you'll have to bear with me for it's the first time I've ever shared this particular journey with
anyone else. I might bumble it, I might not explain it correctly, but I guarantee it's worth the
listen, as all my tales are known to be.

What? You don’t think Fate can be poetic? Dramatic? Whimsical, even? Guess again,
mortal.

They met in a bookstore; just a bustling New-York-minute grabbing them each by the throat
and knocking them together. Windblown from the crisp autumn air, Devan breezed into the store
and swept right into Tavion’s life, altering it completely. Of course he didn't know it at the
time—people rarely do in moments like these. But he did remember being annoyed with her…

Also coming soon…

IMPENDING REPRISALS

The spirited woman danced just out of Kael's reach, and he simply grasped air.

“Anya, you know I will marry you when we are of age,” he solemnly told her, stepping closer still.

“Perhaps.”

“You doubt my intentions?” He reached for her again; a tentative motion as if sudden movements would spook her away, and yet decisive, clearly displaying his eagerness to hold her in his arms.

“No, I do not doubt,” she replied as a wicked gleam shown in her emerald green eyes—a gleam he knew all too well. “But you will have to catch me first.” Kael smiled as he watched Anya sprint down the hillside, her bare feet hardly touching the ground during her flight. She was a vision indeed as her white dress billowed behind her, a deep contrast to the flow of auburn hair cascading down her back, curling with the humidity of the day.

“Get her, Tajvek,” Kael ordered to the massive white tiger, sprawled further up the hill. The animal perked its ears, then bunched its muscles and leapt after her; a single bound closing the distance to Kael, and another halving the remaining distance between him and Anya.

Kael sprinted forward as well, closing fast on the beautiful woman who had been slowed by the animal standing in her path.

“Move, Taj!” she yelled, glancing over her shoulder with wide eyes, her already bronzed skin blushing a deeper shade. Seeing Kael right behind her, she let out an anticipatory laugh and tried to dodge to the side.

Kael wrapped an arm around her waist before she could complete the maneuver and pulled her to him, twisting around as they fell to the ground and cushioning her fall with his body.

Anya looked to the white tiger now comfortably curling at the base of a tree, watching the events unfold with lazy, sleepy eyes.

“You are meant to obey
my
will, Taj, not his.”

Kael rolled Anya so he was lying against her side. He looked down at her as one hand came to rest on her hip while the other kept his weight from crushing her. “He senses that in which you desire most.” A mischievous grin spread across his face. “He knew you wanted to be caught.”

“Hmm. That he does.” Anya gazed into the Kael's deep blue eyes, lost in the endless pools of desire they always immersed her in. “And now that you have me, what
are
your intentions?” The corner of her mouth twitched as she tried to contain her smile, fairly confident as to what his motives were.

Kael locked eyes with hers and began rubbing his hand across her hip. Anya's mirth faded into serious contemplation as her breath held and her stomach fluttered from the contact. Easing down, he brushed his lips gently against hers, teasing her as his hand caressed up her ribs.

Anya sighed as his lips met hers again, and she weaved her hands in his thick dark hair, drawing him close. She could feel his hot, firm hand pressing on her body, feeling as if it might burn through the thin fabric of the bodice separating them, and wishing it would. But the material was as impenetrable as a mortar wall, a solid barrier between his skin and hers.

Kael was powerless against the temptations she held for him as their kiss deepened, their tongues twirling as their mouths pressed hard together, their breath coming in shallower, quicker intakes. He lost himself in the sensations of Anya, the heave of her breasts against his chest, her hands tangled in his hair, her flushed body pressed against his. He was barely aware of his own hand's movements as he grazed the swell of her breast, but the intimate contact was not missed by the girl.

How Anya had longed for his tender touch, for him to explore her body and revel in the seductions she had to offer. So long had he teased and tempted her to the point of frustration, all the while stating it to be improper and disrespectful to partake in such pleasures.

The same time Anya issued a soft whimper, Kael became aware of his hand's placement, but her reaction stopped him from pulling back. The intense hunger she always brought out in him caused his whole body to ache, indicating the point in which he would always retreat. Only this time, his strength faltered.

Anya sensed his hesitation and bowed her back, pressing her breast again his hand, literally putting temptation within reach. And deny it, he could not.

A guttural moan slipped from deep within his chest as his hand cupped her breast, his fingers curling around, stroking and caressing the soft mound. Their kiss escalated into a frenzy of emotions—passion versus lust, want versus need—as they pressed their bodies tight together in desperate longing.

Kael suddenly broke away with a great gasp of air and moved his busy hand to Anya's hip, knotting his fist in the fabric of her dress in an act of frustration. Anya slumped back in defeat, her lip slipping out into a pout after she let loose a heavy sigh. He released her garment from his clenched fist and began tracing her mouth with his finger, issuing a husky laugh as she pleaded at him with disheartened eyes. “You know we cannot, Anya.”

“I know.” And, despite her own actions, she was well aware of his honorable morals. They would wait until she was of age to choose her own partner, her love, when she alone was able to decide without the approval of her father. And yet, twenty-three years of age seemed like a lifetime away at that particular moment.

“I will wait till the proper time to have you. Three years is not such a long time, considering as long as we have waited thus far.”

“You are a patient man, Kael. Far more patient than I.” She scowled, and he grinned at her irritation as he took on a more serious tone. “I did not yet have a chance to tell you...” Anya arched an eyebrow as she looked up at him, donning an inquisitive expression. He began stroking the long, shiny locks curled across her bare shoulder.

“You were a vision last night, near impossible to resist.” Anya smiled at the compliment, and bowed her head in a humble gesture. As much as she had just braved the first step in their physical relationship, she was just as shy in other aspects.

“As were you.” And he was handsome indeed as her escort to the masquerade ball, hosted by a visiting lordship and the talk of their small village in the days preceding it. “I can barely believe my father had suggested we go together. I feared he would arrange for some dreadfully boring man to accompany me.”

“As did I fear such an arrangement as well.”

Both Kael and Anya had been riddled with surprise at her father's request, but, of course, neither one issued a single word of protest at the pairing. The only qualm the evening held for the young couple was they were unable to spend every moment together. But, as was custom, they were expected to switch partners during the various dances.

Kael's strong jaw flexed as he thought of the previous night's activities, and his tone turned sour. “Although one man surely took more than his fair share of your time.” However, as unwilling as he was to share her presence, Kael could not very well deny the pleasure of Anya's company, especially from the visiting lord, the host of the party.

“Why, Kael...are you jealous?” Anya smirked at his response, and tilted her head to the side as she regarded him. “And yet you will not take what I would willingly give you?” He looked into her alluring green eyes—the lightest part of her entire being and a vivid contrast to her darkened skin and mahogany hair, now altered to auburn as the summer sun took its toll. And he suddenly realized if he did not avert his gaze, he would once again be compelled to embrace her. Glancing away, he groaned, “Do not tempt me, Anya.” Tajvek began making a low humming sound in his chest, a clear warning, drawing their attention and causing them to tense.

“What is it, Taj?” Anya asked.

“Anya!” Her father's resonant voice bellowed through the expansive meadow, echoing off the air itself with a commanding presence.

Kael scrambled away from Anya's side as he held out his hand to assist her to her feet. But the flustered young man was not able to stand before her father, Chiberus, an imposing hulk of a man, crested the hill. Staring at the flow of the white dress in front of him, Kael pinched the fabric between his fingers and pretended to be examining a grass stain, brushing at it with his fingertips.

“What is the meaning of this?” Chiberus demanded as he came to a stop beside them and looked down to her dress.

Anya gave him a sheepish grin as she shrugged. “I fell.”

“Kaelestis, you are to well protect my daughter, even if it is from herself.” He crossed his arms as his brow creased.

“I apologize, Weapons Master of Liberwood, for not having a quicker steadying hand.” Kael bowed his head respectfully as he released her dress.

“Bah! She appears no worse for the wear.” Chiberus clapped his large hand hard on Kael's shoulder as the mirth touched his eyes only. “And how many times must I insist you call me Chiberus?”

Kael stood as he and Anya exchanged a curious expression. Although her father had entrusted her safety to Kael for many years now, he had never before shown a personal interest in getting to know the budding young warrior.

“Sedalene has dinner ready, Anya, and she is upset by your tardiness.” He paused and then muttered, “Well, as upset as she ever gets.”

Anya smiled at his description of her nanny's reaction, for nothing ever seemed to anger Sedalene. The only overt emotion she has ever known Sedalene to display was annoyance with Anya's father over his blind eye towards her affections.

“And I need to speak to you, Kaelestis, about an urgent matter.” Chiberus' already dark eyes looked even darker as he nodded to the young man.

“Is there cause for concern, Weapons Mas—” Kael quickly corrected himself as the much taller, and bigger, man glowered at him. “Pardon me...Chiberus.”

“No, no, my son,” he assured while Kael and Anya once again glanced to each other over the 'my son' reference. “But we must act with haste.”

“Very well.” Kael bowed his head in a slow, respectful motion.

“Now come along you two.” Chiberus ordered as he smoothed down his neatly-trimmed, black beard and looked pointedly at Kael. “I will meet you in the sparring room.”

“As you wish.”

Chiberus turned and walked away, his long strides moving him at a brisk pace.

Tajvek crept to Anya's side and nudged her waist, no doubt sensing her confusion and wondering as to the cause. She reached down and stroked the huge cat's head as she stared at her father's retreating figure. “You may go now, Taj. I will see you later.” The white tiger leaned into her briefly before fading into a spectral state and then disappearing altogether. Anya glanced at Kael and tipped her head towards her father. “What was all that about?” she whispered as they began following Chiberus.

Kael simply shrugged.

“Maybe I shall ask Sedalene. She may know something.”

“That is a thought, but I imagine I will find out soon enough.”

“Do you suppose Father is arranging for...” Anya trailed off, not daring to say her greatest desire out loud, afraid to hope her father would arrange a pairing between Kael and herself.

Kael smiled, a hopeful gleam in his blue eyes, as he presumed where her comment was leading. “I can only dream of being such a fortune man.” Anya's heart fluttered and she blushed, looking away as she composed herself.

They walked side by side, following Chiberus at a distance as they traveled back to Anya's home, a modest manor located in a village on the outskirts of their great city, Liberwood. Kael periodically brushed his hand against hers, an amorous, although shrouded, reminder to her as to how he felt. And she responded in like, trying to capture his hand during each pass, her hidden fingers reaching from the folds of her dress at her side.

They each had a lightness to their steps, and in their hearts, while they speculated as to what Chiberus' news might be, and hoped, without saying the words, it would indicate the beginning of a new life together.

Acknowledgements

It takes a small army to see a book to fruition. That being said, many thanks to higher ranks of my troops…

Julie Gonnering
for her unending support and patience as my daily sounding board. (Yes, daily. Have pity for the poor girl!) AND…for her help in titling this series. She pegged Book #2

perfectly with
Twisted
, which then led into the series title,
Twists of Fate
. What can I say? The woman is brilliant!

Monica Millard
for her unyielding will when strong-arming me out of my darkest of writer’s funks. (For a little thing, she packs a punch!) Thank you for always being there to deal with my weekly bouts of craziness. You are my beacon when I’m lost in the fog.

Trish McCallan
for being my map in this insane writer’s world I’ve found myself in. Her insight, knowledge and guidance has brought me where I am today. Without her, I’d still be wandering around, wondering where I missed my turn. (Too bad I couldn’t download a “Trish” into my GPS…)

BOOK: Connected (Twists of Fate #1)
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